Hi there! If you are reading this I can assume you are in the same boat as me – you have a grocery budget and are looking to get the most bang for your buck. There are various situations that lead you here, for me, it is because I am currently in my Dietetic Internship which has put our household on one-income for a while. Maybe you are brand new to budgeting, trying to save for a big purchase, or trying to pay more to your student loans, whatever the case may be, thanks for joining! In this post I will share a few tips I have learned to help stretch my grocery dollars.
- Shop seasonally! Buy produce when it is in season
This is Economics 101, when supply is high prices are driven down. This requires looking at sales flyers to see what is on special. Here is a general guide for Texas Produce as to what is in season when. Not from Texas? Check out this link to find what is in season in your state. If you are super savvy, you may even stock up and preserve fresh produce by freezing or canning it.
- Take advantage of E-Coupons/ Special Buys offered by retailers
This is something I avoided for a long time because, honestly I thought it would be a hassle. It wasn’t until crunch time (i.e. one-income) that I went to Kroger’s website and registered to look at digital coupons. My-oh-my, was I surprised to see coupons on items I actually buy such as laundry detergent, plastic wrap, and soap. It took me less than fifteen minutes to register and virtually “clip coupons”. The first trip I saved over 25% off my total grocery bill by combining E-Coupons with in-store specials! Most major retailers offer E-Coupons. Go to their website to sign-up!
- Watch what you waste
Food waste is a MAJOR problem in the United States. In 2010, approximately 133 billion pounds or one-third of our food supply was wasted! As someone with close ties to agriculture, food waste deeply troubles me because I think of all the hard work and resources that went into producing it. To identify what you are wasting keep a “waste-log” on your fridge or nearby. When you throw out something write it down on the log. Be sure to include what exactly you threw out, the amount, and the date. Doing this will help you observe trends in your household. For example, maybe you are throwing away a lot of leftovers – once you identify that is a problem, you can start freezing half to have a meal for another day.
Being aware of what you waste also allows for some creativity in the kitchen. Probably one of the most common items that go to waste is bananas, challenge yourself to come up with something to make other than banana bread. Maybe I am unusual, but I find it intriguing to try and waste as little food as possible. Some of my best recipes come from finding new flavor combinations when I was trying to use something up (like my Hatch Green Chile Chicken Spaghetti)!
Does being a budget-conscious grocery shopper take more time? Absolutely! However, it can be done and I hope these tips will help you to lower / stay within your grocery budget. Eating healthy on a budget is possible and I hope to help you along that journey! Stay tuned for Part II!
If you enjoyed this post let me know in the comments below. What are your favorite savvy shopper tips?
Thanks for stopping by!